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In this dynamic 21st century, the word “INTERNET” has become very synonymous with “HUMAN LIVES” without which today's man cannot imagine his life. Even the children are exposed to the wide coverage of the internet. The internet facility is 24x7 at children's disposal by the way of internet access in their school libraries and at their homes. Due to this easy accessibility to the internet facility, the children are becoming addicted to this technology increasingly.
As per a survey conducted by the Public Broadcasting Corporation in July 2002, 77% of the households had the internet accessibility for their children at their homes. This easy accessibility to the internet facility has dumped the innocent childhood of these kids into darkness as in the earlier times, the kids used to entertain themselves through comics and television but today; the internet has replaced it all.
In an another survey conducted by Yahoo it was revealed that the children falling in the age group of 12-17 years of age, made use of this technology i.e. internet for an average of 17 hours per week in the year 2003. Till December 2003, it came out to be a hard fact that about 24 million children in the United States falling within the age group of 6-17 years of age had the internet accessibility at their homes which was as much as three times increase in the data according to that posted in the year 2000 which was somewhere near 8 millions approximately.
From the above studies, it can be rightly said that for today's lifestyle, human beings and especially for children, internet has become indispensable and a highly powerful connecting link and socializing agent due to its extensive usage but it feels very sad to mention that it has also ruined the childhood innocence due to negative contents available on the internet.
Although internet has many positive aspects like it has landed human lives into ease by providing various facilities at their doorsteps like - newspapers being daily updated on the internet, cinema tickets being easily available on the relevant and appropriate sites, movies and songs are also easily available for downloading, study material for any subject is available such as research data, social networking tools connecting distant people - may be friends or relatives etc.
However, still it has some adverse effects such as exposing the kids to the vulgar, worst possible and the negative content like porn movies, violence, sites promoting hatred in the name of a particular religion, caste or creed. There were also certain incidents when the sites containing the vulgar and pornographic contents suddenly popped up while the children innocently typed to search something else in the search engines. According to a research done, it was also known that 25% of the users were exposed to such vulgar content unexpectedly while they were online.
Hence it can be rightly said that this “INTERNET TECHNOLOGY” is a double edged sword which, along with the positive aspects is accompanied with the negative ones.
Following listed are some of the positive aspects of the internet usage which do not pose a threat to the comics and other related industries:
The first and the foremost positive aspect of the internet usage on the comics industry is that now the comics can be made available to the consumers online with much more ease and in a much better and compact form i.e. it can be made available with much better graphics, designs and also may be with 3d effects so that more number of the children are attracted towards such comics and are tempted to read it online.
The comics vendors can display all of their collections on the websites especially made up for such things and can thus avail the consumers i.e. the children, a large variety of comics to choose from. The internet covers the whole of the globe, so the vendors of the comics from all over the world can display their collections on these websites and thus the consumers can get a large variety to choose from and order for such comics.
It is also a matter of fact that if the children read the comics from all over the world available in different languages then it will also help them in improving their vocabulary and communication skills.
Another major advantage of the exposure of the youth to the internet is that when they will choose their favorite comics from all over the globe to read then the producers will have a large consumer base which will lead them to extended profits and thus fame and name for their comics whilst increasing their sales and thus increasing the scope for future extension prospects.
The producers can also make their comics available in the form of videos and attract large number of children thus, widening their consumer base. With such an innovation, the comics industry will flourish on a very large scale and will earn considerable profits/revenues.
Following listed are some of the negative aspects of the internet usage which pose a serious threat to the comics and other related industries:
Just like a coin, everything in this world is double-faced. In the same way, if internet has the positive aspects then there also exist the negative aspects of the internet usage by the children.
· Impact on their moral values:
The first and the foremost negative impact of the internet on today's children is that of the negative content containing sites which are highly vulgar and pose a serious threat to a child's innocence.
Due to such sites, the moral values being inculcated into the children by their parents are seriously endangered because such content pop-ups suddenly when a child innocently logs into the world of internet. The children at a very young age of may be 12 or 13 years are exposed to such content and thus lose their innocence at a very early stage of life. Earlier at this very age, the children used to read the comics but now the internet usage has spoiled it all.
According to a study, it was found that the internet is used much more frequently by the teenagers than their parents and it is mostly used for the purpose of playing games, downloading movies and music and connecting with new people on the social networking sites like - orkut, facebook, twitter etc.
· Impact on Physical Development
The impact of internet on the physical development of the children is such that they are not willing to indulge into the outdoor games rather they prefer to be locked within the four walls and stick to the screens of their personal computers which is seriously hampering their physical growth.
The internet has become such an irresistible addiction for the children that now they prefer contacting their friends on the social networking sites like orkut, facebook, twitter, etc rather than going out and meeting them directly.
· Impact on Cognitive Development
The information available on the internet can't be trusted and relied upon because it has no authenticity and it also can't be controlled. Thus, it directly affects the mind set of the children and since they are not able to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong and what actually exists and what is just an illusion so their minds are diverted wrongfully towards certain anti-social activities.
In a critical research conducted, it was also found that most of the children when given their assignments or the projects to complete, just plagiarized it from the study material available on the internet and didn't even do a single thing by themselves on that particular assignment or the project, which shows that how seriously the internet is affecting the analytical skills of the children, rather adversely. It also depicts that they have lost their moral values of being honest towards their work and be fully dedicated rather they prefer cheating on it.
The research also showed that 45% of the students in the United States failed/dropped out of their universities just because they were awake the whole night doing net surfing.
· Impact on Social Development
Although the internet provides many facilities for the intellectual growth of the children along with the building up of their creativity skills but still it can make the children indulge into certain anti-social activities such as being violent, hateful towards a particular religion, caste, color, creed, sex, race or country, biased, exposure to pornographic content.
Furthermore, the children also get provoked by certain anti-social groups who wash their brains and make them stand against a particular caste, religion, color, sex or country and thus indulge into terrorism activities. This gives rise to terrorists of very young age in the name of religion or something else which is actually not the real motive behind the formation of such groups.
* The first and the foremost step that should be taken for reducing the adverse effect of the internet usage on the children is that their parents should become so friendly with them that they don't feel the need to find friends for themselves on such social networking sites like orkut, facebook, twitter etc.
* Secondly, the parents should fix the internet usage hours for their children beyond which they shouldn't be allowed the usage of the internet and the parents should also have such a system in which the children can surf the selected sites and they can't have access to any number of sites.
* The parents should inculcate the reading habits in their children even if it is for the comics or anything else similar to it and for this, first of all, the parents should themselves start reading certain comics or novels and then narrate their stories to their children. This would keep the children away from the internet as much as possible and would also inculcate a good habit of reading in them.
* Even having the pets like dogs, cats, rabbits etc at home will also do the needful, as the children will not only enjoy being in their company but they will also take good care of them which will teach them to be kind to the animals and again push them away from the monster named, internet.
* The parents should encourage their children to indulge into the outdoor activities/games and play as a group or in a team which will teach them how to cooperate with others and survive as a team.
* Parents should set an example of how to tackle with their problems fearlessly so that the children treat their parents as their role models.
* The media viewing by the children should be under the strict supervision and guidance of their parents.
Lastly, it can be concluded by mentioning that first of all it becomes the responsibility of the parents to keep a check on what their child does, for how many hours does he play the video games, for how many hours is he exposed to the television viewing and internet surfing? And last but not the least, what is the type of the content that he is viewing on the television, internet or playing on the games.
The parents should try their best not to make their child a couch potato who is always addicted to the internet and never exercises any sort of the outdoor games or indulges into reading comics, novels etc.
The most important thing that the parents must take care of regarding their child is that he should not be exposed to any sort of pornographic content which poses a serious threat to his innocence that can be lost at a very early stage of life.
Even the government should enforce certain laws to ban the telecast of such vulgar/inappropriate/violent content and reduce its negative impact not only on children but also on adults which is through any of these - internet, television or through video games.